COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Fresh off the heels of Friday’s 5-1 victory over Siena, the first NCAA tournament win in program history, the Georgetown women’s soccer team (14-6-2) returned to Ludwig Stadium on the campus of the University of Maryland on Sunday looking to extend their season even further.

 

Their opponent this time was the region’s No. 1 seed and host, the Maryland Terrapins (18-2-3), who had routed High Point 4-1 on Friday to reach the second round. As was expected, the game was much more even than both Friday contests, and it had to be decided by penalty kicks after neither team could manage more than one goal through 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute golden goal overtimes. The shootout was kinder to Blue and Gray shooters than free play had been, as they clinched the historic upset when Maryland’s junior forward Ashley Grove saw her attempt cannon off the post, triggering a delirious celebration among the Georgetown players and the fans that had made the trip to College Park.

 

 

 

“I knew coming into the game that it was going to be a tight game. Maryland’s a fantastic team,” Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “It was even; there were spells where we were on top, [and] there were spells when they were on top. … To come here and beat them in front of their home fans, I’ve got to give credit to my young kids.”

 

 

 

While delighted with the win, Nolan was sympathetic to Maryland, who lost on penalty kicks in the ACC tournament as well.

 

 

 

“If [Maryland Head Coach] Brian Pensky isn’t the best coach in the country this year, he’s certainly in the top one,” Nolan quipped after the game. “I’m gutted for [him], but that’s the way it [happens] sometimes.”

 

 

 

It was clear from the start of the game that the Hoyas had no intentions of sitting back and defending in depth, despite the Terps’ lofty ranking. Much like they did against then-No. 4 Notre Dame, the Blue and Gray made a concerted effort to impose their will on their opponents.

 

 

 

“We played some of the best teams in the country this year,” Nolan said. “We didn’t have any fears about coming in here to play Maryland. They’re a great team, but I keep telling these [girls] that they’re a great team too.”

 

 

 

For all of their attacking intentions, neither the Terrapins nor the Hoyas could find a way to break the deadlock in the first half, even with numerous chances at goal created by both teams.

 

 

 

The hosts had the best chances of the early going, most notably when Grove blazed a shot over the crossbar after a corner kick with about 10 minutes gone.

 

 

 

The Blue and Gray bounced back quickly, though, as junior midfielder Kelly D’Ambrisi caused a turnover minutes later and fed the ball to junior forward Camille Trujillo, but the junior forward was dispossessed just as she entered the penalty area in search of a shooting lane.

 

 

 

Nolan’s introduction of junior forward Samantha Baker for senior Amy Speck near the 20-minute mark of the first half gave the Hoyas another attacking option, and Georgetown began to retain possession for longer stretches of time and repeatedly earned corners and throw-ins in the dangerous areas of the field. D’Ambrisi and senior defender Michaela Buonomo both had headers just clear the crossbar off Baker corners, and several times the junior’s long throw-ins bounced around the box for a while before getting cleared away.

 

 

 

“My throw-ins have always been a threat for this team, and today we looked really dangerous on them,” Baker said. “The game plan was to keep getting them because I was getting them in [the penalty area], and our players were getting on the end of them.”

 

 

 

During the last 10 minutes of the half, though, Maryland seized the initiative and senior goalkeeper Jackie DesJardin and the Georgetown back four were called upon to deal with increasingly frequent and threatening Terrapin attacks until the halftime whistle put an end to the first stanza of play.

 

 

 

The teams retained their offensive mindset at the start of the second half, and at the 51:20 mark, the Hoyas finally broke the scoreless tie. Sophomore defender Christina O’Tousa started things off when she fired a rising shot that rebounded off the crossbar, hit a Maryland defender and fell towards Trujillo in an awkward position. The junior contrived to push the ball off the left post and into the net past the diving Terrapin redshirt junior goalkeeper, Yewande Balogun.

 

 

 

“[Christina] took an excellent shot that hit off the crossbar,” Trujillo said. “[It] popped out and I tried to get my body in there and get it into the goal. … I didn’t really see it go in, but I’m happy that it [did].”

 

 

 

The goal, Trujillo’s third in two tournament games and her team-leading 13th of the season, is the most recent result of a fine run of form by the forward. She was singled out for praise by coaches and teammates alike, with Baker marveling at her “amazing” play and Nolan singling her out for her “tireless” efforts in leading the Blue and Gray front line.

 

 

 

The goal invigorated both teams, as the Hoyas searched for a second goal and Terrapin counterattacks threatened to breakdown the Georgetown backline. After coming close a few times, Maryland finally equalized in the 64th minute when junior forward Sade Ayinde, who been substituted on seconds before, latched onto a through ball from senior defender Caitlin McDowell and calmly slotted the ball past an onrushing DesJardin from about 25 yards out.

 

 

 

“I thought that once we went up, they started to squeeze us a little bit,” Nolan said. “I think if we had gotten the second goal it would have been game over, but they’ve got some special players. Their goal was an exceptional goal. Our back four did a fantastic job against [junior forward Jasmyne Spencer] and [Ayinde] all game. … [Ayinde got] away once and score[d] a great goal.”

The Blue and Gray bounced back quickly as Baker, Trujillo, D’Ambrisi and freshman defender Kailey Blain all came close to restoring the one-goal lead for the Hoyas. They dodged a major bullet with about 15 minutes left, though, when DesJardin came out of the penalty box to clear a long Maryland pass only to mishit her clearance. The ball fell to Maryland’s sophomore defender Olivia Wagner about 40 yards from the suddenly empty goal, but she did not shoot, and by the time she passed to a teammate, DesJardin was back in the net.

 

 

 

Both teams continued pressing for a winning goal, with Maryland dominating possession for much of the end of regulation and the beginning of the first overtime as the Blue and Gray struggled to retain possession. The second overtime was better for the Hoyas, who reasserted themselves and had more of the chances in the final 10 minutes. Still, they could not convert.

 

 

 

“Toward the end I felt like they were getting a little bit of momentum,” redshirt junior midfielder Ingrid Wells said. “We stuck to our plan and kept the ball and went at them.”

 

 

 

So, after 110 minutes of entertaining soccer, the game came down to the drama of penalty kicks.

 

 

 

“We prepared for penalty kicks all week,” Nolan said. “As much as you can prepare for them, what it comes down to is [who is] going to be brave enough to step up to the plate when the pressure is on.”

 

 

 

Up first for the Terrapins was their goal scorer, Ayinde, but DesJardin guessed correctly and made a diving stop on the hard shot to her left.

 

 

 

Wells was the next player to step up to the line, and unlike Ayinde, she did not miss, calmly firing the ball into the lower left corner of the goal past the diving Balogun.

 

 

 

“Jackie set me up perfectly [when] she saved the first one,” Wells said. “I [knew] I [had to] make this to get ahead.”

 

 

 

DesJardin was the hero again on the next penalty kick, this time diving to her right to prevent the Terrapins from getting on the board.

 

 

 

“I was definitely nervous, but I felt like if my team was going to make them, I had a duty to at least save a couple,” she said. “I got a little lucky with the sides I went to, but you just have to pick a side and go with it, and that’s what I did.”

 

 

 

Freshman defender Emily Menges was next up for the Hoyas, but she was unable to beat Balogun, and after Maryland’s first successful kick moments later, the pressure was on Menges’ classmate, forward Kaitlin Brenn, to restore the Hoyas’ advantage. And she did. Maryland’s junior defender Mallory Baker then tied it up at three conversions apiece before Baker stepped up.

 

 

 

“Earlier in the season I missed a PK, so it was a little nerve-wracking,” Baker said. “I wasn’t calm, but I was calm enough. … I saw [Balogun] take a step in my normal direction, so I just stepped up and pushed it into the other side.”

 

 

 

Baker’s conversion meant that Grove, the Terps’ next shooter, had to convert to force Trujillo, the Hoyas’ next shooter, to score for the Blue and Gray to win the game. Even though DesJardin dove the wrong way, Grove pushed her shot too far to the right, and it caromed off the post as DesJardin got up and was promptly mobbed by her relieved and delighted teammates.

 

 

 

“This is just great for us,” Nolan said. “Moving on to the Sweet 16 . I don’t think it can get any better than this.”

 

 

 

“This team has worked so hard, and we’ve come so far,” Wells said. “I really felt like we deserved it today. … We finally got some luck.”

 

 

 

Awaiting the Hoyas in the Sweet 16 are the Minnesota Gophers, who pulled off an upset of their own by beating Texas A&M, the region’s No. 4 seed, on Sunday. The Georgetown players, though, are savoring the moment.

 

 

 

“It’s monumental to be getting to the next round,” Wells said. “I feel like we can play with anyone right now. … I could only wish for [this], and I’m happy to be here.”

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